If you aren’t familiar with this folk rock awesomness you should be. The Irishman with the powerful voice, Glen Hansard, and the piano playing Czech with the angelic voice, Markéta Irglová, form this award winning duo. The have a wonderful sound and they are one of my all-time favorites. The Swell Season have several wonderful songs (Into The Mystic, Low Rising, Lies, Feeling the Pull, When Your Minds Made Up… to name a few) but their most famous song by far is ‘Falling Slowly’.
Recorded in 2006, and release in three consecutive years, it was the feature song from their movie ‘Once’. That movie is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking love stories I have seen. The musical chemistry between Glen and Markéta translates to a wonderfully quirky and genuine relationship on screen. Glen’s character was cheated on by his ex-girlfriend. Markéta’s character left her husband and moved to Ireland. The two meet, quickly develop a relationship, and they both know they are falling in love but are too scared to act upon those feelings.
It is a wonderful story of unrequited love that has one of the better soundtracks in film. The signature song for ‘Once’ was written while the movie was in production. That last minute tune was nominated for a Grammy in 2008 but lost. But on February 24th 2008 the duo took to the stage of the 80th Academy Awards and had one of the most moving performances in Oscars’ history. A little later in the telecast they heard their names called as the winner of Best Original Song. A well deserving win for sure. (I scoured the interwebs for their Oscars performance, but alas I could not find it.)
Here is a pure and clean version of this beautiful song.
There are several live versions of this song floating around. Here is one of my favorites. It has a little something extra. The video is a little jumpy so just close your eyes and listen.
In a turn of life imitating art, there was a documentary made of the duo. They had a crew follow them for 3 years and record the highs and lows of their lives. It is as beautiful and touching as ‘Once’ except this wasn’t scripted. It was released for a limited run in 2011 and is available right now. Find it. Watch it. Enjoy it.